Grass roots approach to farm safety

By Rick Bayne

Jervois dairy farmer Michele Golder has been part of a committee guiding a new Dairy Australia farm safety starter kit currently being rolled out across Australia.

Mrs Golder said all farmers could benefit from the new kit and adapt its information to suit their business.

“It will help farmers to become more aware of their health and safety obligations,” she said.

“It looks at different aspects of farm safety; such as use of quad bikes and working in confined spaces, and gives information and help we need as farmers to establish safety programs and procedures.

“I find it difficult to create a policy from scratch so templates were important for me.”

Mrs Golder said the initiative is an important part of changing safety culture on farms and people’s perception about farming.

She and her husband, Lawrie, employ six staff in their business. They milk about 240 Friesians and have 100 beef cattle. They produce all their own hay and grain.

In 2009 in the midst of a bad drought they had considered relocating, retiring or restructuring, eventually opting for the latter after winning trips to Canada and USA through milk quality awards.

“We learnt a lot about feedlots and introduced a partial mixed ration with a feed wagon. It worked well and we were amazed at how much production improved.”

Mrs Golding said the rollout of the new safety kit is a proud moment for her.

“It’s good to contribute to a safer dairy industry.”